2013 — 5 July: Friday

Despite the bright morning sunshine1 not quite everything in last night's "Mint" gardening exercise came up, erm, smelling of roses. In fact, I made something of a hash of three completely separate attempts — in the course of a couple of rather frustrating hours before eventually giving up lest I be tempted to pick up a reprogramming hammer — creating three completely separate Linux Mint VMs as I tried to wriggle round various 'niggles'. At this rate I may even have to resort to re-reading the manual.

The irony was that I could use the virtual Mint to play video and audio files from my NAS. Of course, this merely rubbed salt in the wound as I'd been unable to persuade so much as a beep out of exactly the same Mint system when it was running natively on BlackBeast last Tuesday. All in all, it's probably just as well that I've yet to discover a compelling Linux application use case, since if I had, that would really piss me off. Grrr.

If only Mrs Landingham were here, I feel sure she'd bring me a soothing cuppa.

Much as I adore...

... Jane Austen, the idea of attending this is as utterly emetic as the idea of attending any world SF fan convention. Although, is there actually any difference, I wonder? They are both oddly focussed enthusiasms and I can't claim to be entirely innocent of those from time to time — well, OK, all the time...

I shall shortly get a chance to inspect one of Big Bro's enthusiasms. He's arranging for a job lot of small, used, pieces of perforated paper, each with human DNA samples on one side, to be delivered to me. He wants me to photograph them so he can assess whether to fork out cost of postage to get them over to NZ. It surely takes all sorts.

Two steps forward...

Diving once again into the thicket that is my Mint garden, I was offered, and accepted, an upgrade to Version 4.2.16 of VirtualBox, so I zapped the previous one, installed the new one, defined — yet again — a little sandbox for the VM, proffered the ISO, watched the Mint 15 install itself (again without intervention from me), noted the one-hour time zone discrepancy, saved the state, and restarted it successfully. This is definitely forward progress.

Light dawns

Even by my own standards, my idiocy has been well-nigh complete. In all my previous tussles with VirtualBox I wasn't ever actually running an installed Mint 15... I was running its live 'distro'. Now that I've finally actually installed the thing by — guess what? — clicking on the DVD icon all too clearly labelled "Install Mint" all is rather more sweetness and considerably better light. Still, at least I've worked up an appetite for lunch with my lunch date.

And, following a not-so-light lunch (I was starving, not having eaten a single biscuit by that point) and some imparted computing wisdom, I have just torn down the latest pathetic attempt at a virtual Linux, added the extensions pack I forgot all about in my haste to upgrade VirtualBox this morning, assigned two processor cores and 1GB of RAM (plus a reasonably reasonable 24GB of hard drive, re-installed the Mint 15 ISO 'live distro' from my local hard drive — a process that goes a lot more quickly than when reading it from my DVDROM drive — clicked yet again on "Install Mint", and had nowhere near enough time for my latest cuppa to cool before (after one mandated restart) being faced with my "best so far" Linux desktop running fullscreen on the right-hand Dell alongside Win8 running cool as a cucumber on the left-hand Dell.

First task: grab the 80MB of accumulated updates, then away we go. Miles better than a dual-boot system, in my 'umble.

Is it my imagination...

... or is it actually quite like a decent summer's day at the moment? It was 27C on my front porch when I got home after lunch, and is a balmy 24.6C here at the heart of Technology Towers. Very nice change, actually. In fact, Bro said NZ was currently enjoying shorts and tee shirt weather, too. But he's rather closer to the equator than I am.


It occurs to me, when I read beautifully-written bits of "history" like this...

What kind of ruler did this philosopher-king prove to be? Not, perhaps, as different from his predecessors as one might have expected. Though an emperor was all-powerful in theory, his ability to control policy was in reality much more limited. Much of his time was spent fielding problems that had moved up the administrative ladder: receiving embassies from the large cities of the empire, trying appeals of criminal cases, answering queries from provincial governors and dealing with petitions from individuals. Even with a functional system of imperial couriers, news could take weeks to travel from the periphery of the empire to the center; imperial edicts took time to move down the chain of command. While the emperor's decision had the force of law, enforcement was almost entirely in the hands of provincial governors, whose diligence might be affected by incompetence, corruption, or an understandable desire not to antagonize local elites.

Date: 2002

... that nothing much changes as the centuries — indeed, the millennia — tick steadily by. The piece is from the Gregory Hays translation of "Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius (whom I had occasion to mention a while back — on the day of Christa's funeral service, in fact).



1  Currently, at least.